I have an 11 year old sharpei who vet says is getting arthritis. She is now taking rimadyl which seems to help but is rather expensive. I have heard that the over the counter pills, osteo bi-flex, which of course is for humans, also helps in animals. Has anyone here had any experience with this. Have not asked the vet, figure he'll want me to keep buying the rimadyl, which I will if theres no other choice. Thanks for any advise.
I used Osteo-Biflex with my dog Barney with success. It won't probably give the dog enough relief to do away with the Rimadyl but possibly allow you to cut the dosage back. Take into consideration that it can take as long as 8 weeks for any of the glucosamine products to build up in the body and be effective. The only issue I had with it is that pills are huge. Sometimes getting the dog to take them can be a hassle. Fortunately for me Barney would eat anything that had peanut butter in it so I would split the pill in half and give him half in the morning and half at night.

Also I hope you had blood work done on your dog before putting him on the Rimadyl. It's an NSaid and all nsaids can cause liver, kidney and internal bleeding problems if not properly monitored. The majority of dogs have no problem with it but the side effects are bad enough that you have to have labs drawn regularly to catch any problems early on.

Once they get arthritis really bad it's a question of quality of life verses the risk in some situations. In Barneys case the arthritis was severe and with out the medications he just could not walk. Barney took Rimadyl for over two years before we switched him to Deramaxx once we maxed out the dosage of Rimadyl for a dog his size. In total he was on the two drugs for over 5 years without any issue but I watched him like a hawk and got regular blood work drawn to check on his liver & kidney function.

Even now I have a beagle/retriever mix who takes it for arthritis and even with him he gets labs drawn to check his values. I wish I could get Buddy to take the Osteo Biflex but he will spit out the pill no matter what I put it in. I did purchase some MSM powder and I'm going to try it with him instead.
Celeste
I have an 11 year old sharpei who vet says is getting arthritis. She is now taking rimadyl which seems ... he'll want me to keep buying the rimadyl, which I will if theres no other choice. Thanks for any advise.

I'm not sure if I follow you correctly on why your vet would want you to keep buying Rimadyl. Do you think its to protect his profit margin, or is it because Rimadyl is better, and your vet wouldn't recommend an inferior product.
If its the former, give your vet a chance. They may surprise you. If its the latter, again give your vet a chance. Once you let your vet know that cost is an issue, they may be able to recommend other treatment options that will help.
After a quick look at osteo bi-flex's page, it seems that its mostly a joint supplement, which is good, but may not be enough. Interesting is the disclaimer at the bottom of their webpage "These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. "
Dale